Situated in the Central Visayas region of the Visayas island group, Panglao island was our first stop on our Philippines adventure, and I fell in love instantly. Its beautiful white sand beaches and world-class diving sites make Panglao a popular tourist destination. Featuring lush green palm trees, soft-white sand and the clearest, bluest waters that I’ve ever seen, the Panglao beaches stole a piece of my heart.
Panglao is the perfect place to spend a few days living life in the slow lane. Located southwest of Bohol, the two islands are connected by a small bridge. Panglao island is where most tourists stay when visiting Bohol. The serene ambiance of this paradise, along with its proximity to popular tourist attractions – Chocolate Hills, Loboc river, and the Tarsier sanctuary – make it an idealistic spot for nature lovers and sunshine seekers.
If you’re travelling to Bohol Philippines, I highly recommend checking out the Panglao beaches. Whether you like the idea of snorkelling around the stunning coral reefs, you’re an avid diver, or you’re looking for the ultimate peace and tranquility, Panglao island beaches have enough magic to go around for everyone. There are so many things to do around here. Be sure to check out the Bohol tour options.
The Best Panglao Beaches
We spent two weeks exploring Panglao and the surrounding Bohol areas, and the Panglao beaches were my favourite part of our trip. So I thought I would share with all of you my pick of the best beaches to visit in Panglao.
1. Dumaluan Beach
My absolute favourite Bohol beach is Dumaluan Beach. Situated just a little past white beach, you will find the start of Dumaluan. Only a small part of the sand beach is open to the public because the rest of the area is private for beach resort guests. Dumaluan beach turns into the beach of Bohol and this area is covered by a few luxurious resorts. These include Dumaluan beach resort, Bohol beach club, and South Palms Resort.
The small part of the beach that is open to the public is a great spot to swim. The water is so warm and clear – you can see all the way to the bottom of the ocean. It’s surreal. You can also take a walk along the beach past the resorts – you just can’t use the facilities. The stretch just past Bohol beach club is one of the most beautiful beach settings that I’ve seen.
We ended up visiting Dumaluan beach three times because we loved it so much. It’s the perfect place to relax and take in all the beauty of the Panglao beaches.
2. Alona Beach
Alona beach is the most popular of the Panglao beaches, and where all tourists flock to. Lined with numerous beachside restaurants, bars, hotels and resorts, the vibe here is great. We arrived at around 9 am in the morning and it was already buzzing. Water sports like kayaking, kitesurfing, jet skis, snorkelling and scuba diving are all popular activities here.
The Alona beach is a kilometer long stretch of white-powdery sand, found on the south side of Panglao island. In just 10 to 15 minutes you can walk the entire length of soft-white sand while taking in the refreshing sea breeze and stunning views.
If you love the underwater sea world, then you will love Alona beach. It’s considered to be one of the best diving destinations in the world. As soon as you arrive on the beach you will see numerous dive boats available in the beach area. If you’re hoping to get a glimpse of the Philippines coral reefs, and sea life, like the clown frogfish, lionfish, and pretty starfish – check out the House Reef.
There are also many tour hawkers on the beach selling day tours to the popular Balicasag island and Pamilacan island. The island beaches of Panglao are also popular tourist attractions and Alona beach is where most of these trips leave from. Take a tour and you might even get the chance to see dolphins and sea turtles.
If you want to venture up a bit past Alona, you will find Danao beach. It’s not as beautiful, but it’s definitely quieter, so perfect if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
3. San Pedro Beach
San Pedro beach is a lot less touristy option and you’re unlikely to find it on other “Panglao beaches” lists. This is where mostly locals hang out – although not many. We stayed close to this beach and some days we were the only people there. During high tide it’s beautiful. But once the tide starts going out it looks completely different. We learned this the hard way. So if you do visit this one, make sure it’s during high tide when you can swim and the views are incredible.
During low tide the muddy bottom of the sea is exposed and it’s not very attractive to the eyes. You also can’t really swim because the waters are extremely shallow for a long distance. So while this was one of my favourite of the Panglao beaches, you need to pick the right time if you want to see the best of this one.
The sunsets from here are incredible. Although I’m pretty sure that just about any sunset in the Philippines is magical in its own way. But we did capture beautiful sunset memories at San Pedro beach.
Other Panglao Beaches To Visit
Of course, these aren’t the only Panglao beaches to visit. There are many other beaches to check out too. Here are a few others that may be worth it:
- Momo beach: This Panglao beach is characterized by gently swaying coconut trees, a soft breeze, and tranquil waters. It’s the perfect getaway far from the crowds.
- Doljo beach: You can find Doljo beach at Barangay. It’s situated on the northwest side of the island and on the very tip. Doljo is a 3 km stretch of white sand that is relatively unexplored and undeveloped, so you can expect some peace and quiet.
- Bagobo beach: Located in Barangay Libaong, Bagobo beach features very fine white sand and is lined with tall coconut palm trees.
Where To Stay on Panglao Island
The most popular area to stay in is near Alona beach. But Panglao island is fairly small so getting around is not too much of a hassle.
We stayed very close to San Pedro beach. It’s about a 20 minute Tuk Tuk ride away from Alona beach. It’s a much quieter part of the island and great if you want to relax a little.
We almost always book our accomomodation through Airbnb. If you haven’t yet signed up on Airbnb you can follow my link here and get £33 off your first home booking, and £12 to use towards an experience worth £40 or more.
Getting To Panglao Island
Bohol is one of the most visited islands in the Philippines and most tourists choose to stay on Panglao island. They usually arrive at the ferry port or small domestic airport in Tagbilaran City. From there, it’s a short drive over the bridge that connects Bohol to Panglao.
Flights from Manila to Tagbilaran have a travel time of about an hour and 15 minutes. Airlines such as Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines have at least twice a day flights. There are also ferries between Cebu City and Bohol every day – this is the option we used. The trip is about 2 hours long and costs about 500 PHP (+/- $10). You can buy ferry tickets directly at the pier, which is usually better than trying to pre-book tickets.
From both the ferry port and airport is Bohol, there are taxis and hotel transfer vans that will take you over to your accommodation on Panglao island. If you’re feeling brave and don’t have a lot of luggage, you can hop on a tricycle or jeepner.
You can find out more about the Cebu to Bohol ferry trip here.
Where To Stay On Panglao Island
Most tourists on vacation stay around the Alona beach area. This is where most of the restaurants, bars, shops and resorts are located so it’s probably the most convenient location.
If you are looking to spend some time exploring the Panglao beaches, there are many accommodation options on offer on the island, ranging from low-priced to high-end resorts and hotels. There are also numerous Airbnb accommodation options available. Since we stayed in the area for two weeks, we booked an apartment through Airbnb.
If you haven’t yet signed up on Airbnb you can follow my link here and get £33 off your first home booking, and £12 to use towards an experience worth £40 or more.
You may also want to take a Bohol tour while on the island. It’s a great way to explore the area and see a different part of the island.
Philippines Visa Requirements
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines and need help with visa information, I would suggest checking out iVisa.com. The visa process can be very time-consuming, not to mention confusing, and iVisa strive to make the whole process simpler for travellers by taking care of all the nitty gritty details.
Just follow my iVisa application link here and you can do a quick check to see what is required and proceed with an application if necessary.
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